A well-run blog is a huge source of potential income, but bloggers need the right tools to help them reach that potential. I have put together a quick list of the best blogging tools that will help your build a profitable blog without shelling out a ton of money.
The Best Blogging Tools That Won’t Break the Bank
Best Blogging Tools: Hosting & Domains
Siteground is my favorite hosting provider! I use them for all 4 of my websites and they have never let me down. Customer service with Siteground is always fast, efficient, and helpful. I also love that you can have multiple websites listed under one account instead of separate accounts (and separate payments) for each one.
2. 1 & 1
I learned about 1 & 1 early last year. I was a little skeptical of them at first because the name had never crossed my radar, but now I am smitten with them for their domain service! The first domain that you purchase through them is only $1 for the first year and then $15/year after the first. Additional domains are $9 for the first year.
Best Blogging Tools: Platform & Themes
WordPress is the only content editing platform that I will use. It takes a little time to get used to the inner-workings, but it is worth it. Coding knowledge is helpful, but if you have none of that, no worries! There are tons of plugins that can do specific coding jobs for you!
Genesis quickly became my favorite parent theme as a new blogger and it hasn’t left that number one spot yet!
You will want to have a child theme under your Genesis parent theme. I LOVE themes by Restored 316. I currently used the Refined theme for all four of my websites. Refined offers many different customization options to make your website exactly how you like it. You can see how I use this theme on my websites by following these links:
My sites are all fairly similar in design because that is just how I like it, but you can make your sites totally custom to your style. Once you dig in to this theme using the instructions and tips provided by Restored 316, you will see what I mean.
Best Blogging Tools: Content Creation & Editing
KWFinder is a free keyword research tool that allows you to choose the best keyword for each of your blog posts. The free version is limited so they offer paid versions if you need a little more search power. I haven’t seen the need to upgrade yet, though, so the free version could be perfect for you as well!
7. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is an essential for your blog in my opinion. This plugin shows you exactly what you need to do to optimize the SEO (search engine optimization) for each blog post. Great SEO significantly increases your ability to rank in Google and to increase your traffic.
Best Blogging Tools: Graphic Design
Canva is a free online graphic design tool that I use to create all of the graphics for my website and my Etsy shops. The free version of Canva is excellent, but if you need to create graphics with transparent backgrounds or if you want to use custom fonts and add a branding pack, you will need to use Canva for Work. Canva for Work is $12.95/month, but I have found this price to be worth it as I like to use custom fonts to keep my branding on point.
Creative Market is the best place to go for stock photos, graphics, and mockups for product images. You can pay per item or you can purchase credits to use as needed. I use Creative Market anytime I need a photo or graphic that I cannot find on a free stock website and I haven’t been disappointed yet.
Pixabay is an excellent free stock photo website. If you need a basic stock photo, graphic, or mockup that you don’t want to invest much (or any) money into, then this is the site for you.
Best Blogging Tools: Promotion
Pinterest is a tricky beast for bloggers. It can bring in a huge amount of traffic for you, but it can also be extremely time consuming if you don’t have the right tool to keep your images looping in your Pinterest boards as well as relevant group boards. Tailwind is that tool! Tailwind allows you to pin multiple images to multiple boards at one time! They have also recently released a SmartLoop tool that allows you to keep your most important images rotating throughout relevant boards. SmartLoop is a huge help now that BoardBooster has been shut down. Tailwind is $14.99/month and worth every penny!
SmarterQueue is an amazing tool for promoting content across Facebook groups & pages, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest all in one! I have not found any other scheduler that allows you to curate and schedule content on all of the platforms before so SmarterQueue is a huge value!
I use Sumo mainly for social sharing. The Image Sharer tool in the Sumo plugin allows you to add share buttons that appear over your images when readers hover over them. This makes sharing (especially pinning) much more efficient for your readers. Sumo offers many other tools to help you build your email list as well.
Mailerlite is my email marketing tool of choice. It is more affordable than MailChimp or ConvertKit and it offers plenty of email customization and automation options. You can also link multiple websites to one account instead of requiring a separate account for each of your blogs that collect email addresses.
Best Blogging Tools: Products & Free Resources
15. Essential Grid
Essential Grid is a plugin that use on all of my blogs. It allows me to create neat & appealing Shop pages as well as Member Resource pages. My products and resources show up in a grid format and I am able to fully customize the look of each grid. You can view my Essential Grid Shops and Member Resource Libraries via the following links:
- Bless Your Blog Member Resource Library
- Bless Your Blog Shop
- Faithful Farmwife Member Resource Library
- Faithful Farmwife Shop
- A Cup Full of Joy Member Resource Library
- A Cup Full of Joy Shop
If you sell products from your blog, I highly recommend using WooCommerce. This tool allows you to create detailed product pages, run sales and create coupon codes, and it keeps track of all of your sales records for you!
Best Blogging Tools: Ad Networks
17. Gourmet Ads
Many bloggers start out using Adsense for advertising income, but Adsense pays very..very..very little. GourmetAds is a different ad network that accepts new bloggers who don’t have a large following and they pay significantly more than Adsense. If you don’t know how to add in your own ad tags, their customer service techs will do it for you so no worries, friend!
Mediavine is the ad network that I advise you to transition to as soon as your blog hits 25,000 sessions/month. Your ad income will increase with this network and they offer great support.
AdThrive is perfect for blogs that have reached 100,000 pageviews/month.
20. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an absolute must-have for any blogger who wants to build an audience and an income from their website(s). GA tracks your audience demographics, pageviews, sessions, bounce rate and more. Reports from Google Analytics are required by most ad networks and sponsors before you can receive payments.
The 2019 Complete Blog Planner is the planning system that I use for tracking and planning my websites. It helps me to plan my monthly goals & daily tasks, keep track of my monthly stats & income, plan a monthly content calendar, and more!
What other must-have tools make your list of best blogging tools?
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